Singapore — Saudi Aramco again slashed official selling prices for its crude headed to Asia for a second consecutive month, even after marathon talks that led to the historic output cut by OPEC and other nations, according to a pricing letter seen by S&P Global Platts.
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Aramco set the OSP differential for its Arab Light crude headed to Asia at minus $7.30/b against the average of Dubai and Oman crude assessments over May. That's down by $4.20/b, and compares with an expected reduction of $2-$3/b, according to a Platts survey of traders.
OPEC and other producers on Sunday night agreed to production cuts of 9.7 million b/d over May and June, with staggered cuts in the months to follow. The 23-nation alliance was able to re-establish production cuts after OPEC and allies couldn't come to a deal in March.
This is Saudi Arabia's second consecutive monthly price cut after it slashed crude prices by $5-$8/b for April loading crude last month.
Aramco set the OSP differentials for its Arab Extra Light, Medium and Heavy crudes headed to Asia in May at the same level of minus $7.40/b, crunching quality premiums for its lighter crude grades against heavier ones.
Its May OSP differential for Arab Super Light was set at minus $3.65/b, down $5.50/b from the April OSP for Asia.
Overall, Aramco cut its Asia OSPs by $2.95/b to $5.50/b from April to May, according to the letter. Traders expected cuts for all shipments to Asia by $1-$4/b, the Platts survey showed.
MIXED BAG FOR EUROPE
Aramco kept the Arab Light OSP differential for cargoes headed to Northwest Europe unchanged from April, at a discount of $10.25/b over ICE Brent for May. The state-owned company cut the price of Europe Arab Extra Light by 80 cents/b from April to minus $8.90/b for May.
Meanwhile, it hiked the Europe OSPs for Arab Medium and Arab Heavy by $2/b each from April, to discounts of $10.60/b and $11/b for May.
Saudi Aramco issued price hikes for all of its grades headed to the US in May. Its OSP differential for Arab Extra Light was set at a premium of 40 cents/b to the Argus Sour Crude Index (ASCI), up $2.50/b from April, while Arab Light was up $3/b to minus 75 cents/b for May. The Arab Medium OSP differential was raised $4/b from April to minus $1.55/b in May, and the Arab Heavy OSP differential for the US was upped $4.20/b from April to minus $2.10/b in May.